Ubuntu Open Week - Ubuntu Women - Belinda Lopez - Mon, Apr 23, 2007

see also Thursday session.


(03:00:19 PM) dinda: Howdy and welcome to the Ubuntu Open Week Session on The Ubuntu-Women Project!
(03:00:29 PM) dinda: My name is Belinda Lopez, aka Dinda.  I?m currently living in Galveston, Texas and working as a consultant for all things in the training/learning field.
(03:00:44 PM) dinda: Here?s the way ubuntu open week is working each session leader will give their session in this channel, and general discussion and questions happens in #ubuntu-classroom-chat
(03:01:19 PM) dinda: Please keep all chatter and questions to that channel - this channel should only be for the speaker to speak in.
(03:01:36 PM) dinda: Asking a question is simple - in #ubuntu-classroom-chat just prefix your question with the nick of the speaker and the word QUESTION.   The speaker will then cut out the question and paste in here and answer it
(03:01:49 PM) dinda: In this particular session I am going to speak for a short while and then have a Q+A session where I can answer your questions.
(03:02:14 PM) dinda: So, just to repeat,
(03:02:14 PM) dinda: My name is Belinda Lopez, aka Dinda.  I?m currently living in Galveston, Texas and working as a consultant for all things in the training/learning field.
(03:02:43 PM) dinda: I started following the Ubuntu project about 18 months ago and got sucked into the whole wonderful world of all things open source shortly there after.  Along the way to enlightenment I discovered this great group of folks in The Ubuntu-Women Project.
(03:03:23 PM) dinda: I  checked out the website at http://www.ubuntu-women.org/
(03:03:23 PM) dinda: then joined the mailing list and finally started spending some time in the irc channel.
(03:03:53 PM) dinda: The group was initially started by Vid Ayer and others.  I Understand that Sabdfl and Canonical helped register the domain and get resources in place.
(03:04:20 PM) dinda: For a while we were a group of helpers with no leaders.  Several folks stepped up to get the group moving and now we have several projects that we are working on.
(03:04:54 PM) dinda: I helped kick start regular irc meetings and with help from the Community Council we were able to get more Admins for our website and other leadership issues worked out.
(03:05:14 PM) dinda: We also have several more irc ops in our channel as it seems to be a prime target for trolls!  ack!
(03:06:01 PM) dinda: So the biggest question we get is "Why is there an Ubuntu-Women Project?"
(03:06:24 PM) dinda: or "Why do we need the Ubuntu-Women Project?"
(03:06:45 PM) dinda: Many feel as though it?s an attempt at ?integration by separation? rather just everyone jumping into the larger Ubuntu pool.  From my own experience I can tell you I never intended to even join such a group, much less become something of a leader!
(03:07:20 PM) dinda: Many of our members came from other areas first and then we realized this is an area that still needs work to simply help level the playing field in Ubuntu and within many other F/LOSS projects.
(03:07:47 PM) dinda: myself included - I came first to learn about education and open source projects
(03:08:01 PM) dinda: Many of us came from other distros/upstream projects/linuxchix/etc and were drawn to the Ubuntu community because of the Code of Conduct, COC.
(03:08:26 PM) dinda: The language and feeling of inclusion voiced in the COC and Ubuntu community was/is a great starting place; especially for newbies and other minorities to Linux and open source projects.
(03:08:40 PM) dinda: But, unfortunately, even within Ubuntu, several female members have reported problems on mailing lists, within their loco teams and especially on IRC. . .
(03:09:16 PM) dinda: So there is still MUCH work to be done.
(03:09:44 PM) dinda: One response I gave to someone in the forums when asked ?Why is there an Ubuntu Women?s Project?? was that. . .
(03:10:32 PM) dinda: ?. . . when we start seeing the "I just got my tech skills insulted because of my gender" or "because I'm a man they just assumed I knew nothing technical about Linux/SysAdmin/prgramming/etc." post by men then we won't need women's groups."
(03:11:24 PM) dinda: There are many technically capable women in the group and within F/LOSS, so it can be very frustrating when someone challenges your tech skills simply because "you?re a girl"
(03:11:53 PM) dinda: And when we started sharing our experiences in IT, F/LOSS and even Ubuntu we realized that it is still happening.  :(
(03:12:20 PM) dinda: Even if you personally have experienced it or seen it happen, it can be very frustrating to see others go through bad experiences.  So the UW Project is also here to help in that area.
(03:13:06 PM) dinda: I, myself, came from an extremely technical world, Spacefligt Training at NASA, and yet am a newbie in Linux and Open Source, and often found it somewhat intimidating to ask questions or frustrating trying to find answers in the various channels, lists and online resources.
(03:13:40 PM) dinda: I joined the UW project because I found a welcoming group of folks who were open to questions and people with similar experiences as mine.
(03:14:04 PM) dinda: Some of the projects the group has taken on are mentoring, HCI contributions, forums integration, advocacy and conference appearances/presentations.
(03:14:23 PM) dinda: Just to plug Ubuntu Live ? The talk I proposed with the help of the whole Ubuntu Women?s Project, titled, ?Why we need the Ubuntu-Women Project?? was accepted and will be part of Ubuntu Live in July.
(03:15:13 PM) dinda: and with that I'll open it up for questions

<Sanne> QUESTION: will there be a transcript or video of your Ubuntu Live talk, by any chance?

  • I'll definitely put up my presentation on the web somewhere with my speaker notes... but I'm not sure what the conference is doing in terms of video or any live streaming.

<erstazi> QUESTION: What is the best approach to getting wife to use Linux? Even after having the various applications she likes migrated under wine?

  • Hmm, interesting question... but I think the migration path is different for everyone... I still use and XP laptop given to me by my current job and also my main machine is a Mac laptop. Many long time users don't realize there is a learning curve, even if it is slight for new users that is one area I'm working to help overcome, actually with end user training. It has to be comfortable for her or any user to use.

<duncan_nz> <QUESTION> What would you say are the biggest reasons why there are relatively few women in software development, especially OpenSource?

  • Ah, the $64k question! Part of it might be because it is relatively new. Some likened it to Law or Medicine 20 or so years ago, but once women became interested, and the field became level, more women entered, in droves. Right now, it's mostly marketing, just gettig the word out about FOSS in general is the next step

<unimatrix9> QUESTION : whats the most attracting thing for woman about ubuntu?

  • A year ago no one knew what I meant when I mentioned Ubuntu or open source, now many more, especially in education know the terms. The Code of Conduct! I've heard from so many that the Ubuntu Community just rocks. I happen to believe that too. Smile :) It is a welcoming community for everyone and I think folks can find their niche within the community

<richb> QUESTION: Do you think that the IT sector in general has more problems with sexism than other fields of employment, if so are there any glaring causes?

  • That is how I found the Ubuntu-women project. (dinda is pondering that question...) Coming for an entirely technical world of engineers at NASA and now IT, not sure if it is just IT in general or just Linux... or just open source? I'd be curious to throw that question to our mailing list and forums

<deniz_ogut> QUESTION: would you please give some info on the distribution of the team members by countries, regions, continents?

  • It's failry spread out over the world... Vid, the founder is from India. Many from the US and Australia. More from europe and the phillipines. One thing we don't have is a current headcount other than the lanuchpad team. You can check the Launchpad Team info and look at member profiles

<amarillion> QUESTION: Do you see a lot of success stories, i.e. people switching from windows to linux because of projects like ubuntu-women? <Burgwork> COMMENT: I don't know if you have seen the numbers, but IT world in general is less than 20%, Open Source runs about 2%

  • Most FLOSS polls have it even lower, some as low as 2%. I'm not sure about switchers but the U-W project certainly helps keep those interested here. We were surprised recently by the number of members reporting various types of sexism within the Ubuntu Community... So we started a dialog among members and Jono Bacon is now meeting with the project on ways to help combat that in Ubuntu. Lots of Ubuntu Women members came from upstream groups such as LinuxChix, Debian women. It's somewhat frustrating to see the same patterns repeat over and again with the various groups.

<amarillion> QUESTION: Do you think there are other groups that could benefit from extra support?

  • Not sure what you mean by other groups? other audiences? or specific projects? One of the things I found when I came into the project is just being overwhlemed by all the groups seeking help. There was/is tons of information but no step 1, step 2, step 3 path into the volunteer areas.

<LaserJock> QUESTION: is there any obvious thing that Ubuntu developers (like the MOTU) can do to encourage more women to contribute besides just being decent and nice? or are they doing ok as it is, in your opinion?

  • The MOTU, CC, Jono, the core developers, imho, are all doing a great job... It's harder to elaborate on ways to encourage women, without it coming down to "use common sense" but... Obivously things like "don't ask for pictures" and don't troll the u-w irc channel are some. When I went to UDS Paris there were about three women in attendance. UDS Mountain view had a few more. Think about if the roles were reversed and a guy walked into a room of 50-70 women developers. People want to see others like themselves, they just feel more comfortable. Same thing with culture and language so there are no easy answers to encouraging women other than just helping to create a professional environment.

<spr0k3t> QUESTION: I'm the only guy in the group of developers I work with, I can understand how intimidating being the odd one out can be sometimes. Now as an estimate would you say there are more women involved than people realize? I've heard as little as 5% of the active community, but I believe it to be a much larger number.

  • I think the numbers are larger... There is just the matter of having time to contribute. We have tons of programmers, sys admins, bug workers in the group but all seem really tight for time but I think now that the group is growing and folks are getting used to having women contribute in technical areas, more will be encouraged to participate. Plus now that women are leading in some areas, that helps too. Smile :) For example I helped kick start the Ubuntu Houston Loco Team. Last week I stood up in front of 25 guys (and two of their girlfriends) to lead the meeting. It was great. Elkbuntu Hobbsee, Pleai2, others are all leading by example. I wish I could make the next UDS to see what the turnout will be.

<el_isma> QUESTION: Most technical careers have few female students. In my University approximately 5%-10% of the students are woman. Do you think the percentage is what it is because women are not generally interested in tech or because discrimination scares them away?

  • I can only speak from my personal experience... Which is I used to be a programmer and now I'm not. Way back in highschool and even early college I started on the programmer path but somewhere along the way it stopped being fun. I think the environment is definitely opeing up for women but it can be frustrating to encounter a "good old boys" club in any field and I don't buy the whole women don't like technical stuff gender argument either.That's totally not true... we just like things that work - like Ubuntu.

<deniz_ogut> QUESTION: Is there a need/way of contribution to your efforts from male members of the community? Not in general sense as "be good persons"; is there something you ask in concrete terms?

  • First guideline, "Don't be condescending!" When we need/want help we will ask for it. The other thing we discovered at our meeting with Jono... Is that we really need other men to step up and say when they see other members being sexist or making sexist comments/jokes. We need Men to be an example for other men and boys. So it's not enough to not do it yourself, be aware that it is happening and be prepared to speak up when you see it.

<LaserJock> QUESTION: I find it a bit more difficult with women on IRC because I don't want to let other's necessarily know (her/she in speech) but then I feel like I'm isolating them. Pictures are another thing. I like pictures/hackergotchis to give a personal touch. Is it best to just ask?

  • That's a balancing act, LaserJock. On the one hand we want to be more visible on the other, it often makes us targets. Sad :( I became an Ubuntu member a few months ago but have been hesitant to add my blog to planet. I think it's okay to ask, if you need clarification and let them know it's for that reason not b/c you are trolling.

(03:56:36 PM) dinda: time for one or two more questions
(03:56:45 PM) dinda: you folks have been great, btw
(03:56:56 PM) dinda: wish I could keep up with the chat going on
(03:57:44 PM) dinda: You can find more info on the Ubuntu Women Project at www.ubuntu-women.org

<Monika|K> QUESTION: So does Ubuntu Women concentrate on stuff like promoting Ubuntu, or more on technical stuff, like helping women become MOTUs or start developing software?

  • all of the above! Members tend to use it as a stepping stone into other areas of Ubuntu. We are especially intersted in getting more mentoring going.

(03:59:00 PM) dinda: Okay, I have to wrap it up now
(03:59:09 PM) dinda: Thanks to everyone, you've been great!

MeetingLogs/openweekfeisty/women (last edited 2008-08-06 16:35:55 by localhost)